About Peer

Peer's the digital content manager at StepChange Debt Charity. Apart from contributing to the MoneyAware blog and overseeing the charity's website and social media content, he’s walked to the top of every mountain and hill in the Lake District. Twice.

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My most recent posts

MoneyAware is 5 today – get the party hats out!

posted by in Debt news Leave a comment

Yes, the blog’s five years old today! In the last five years we’ve had 2.1 million visitors looking at just under 5 million pages and 1,000s of comments on over 650 articles.

From what was originally a six-month experiment, I’d say it’s been a bit of success…

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What are the 2016 benefit changes announced in the Autumn Statement?

posted by in Living with debt 2 Comments

UPDATE: This article was published in November 2015. Make sure you’re up to date with the 2016 benefit changes and how they may affect you. 

If you’ve been worried about the effects of the changes to tax credits due in the spring, then you’ll hopefully be breathing a sigh of relief today. The Chancellor George Osbourne announced a U-turn on the proposed changes in the Government’s Autumn Statement yesterday. But what else was announced during his 80-minute speech?

The Government’s Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review isn’t a page turner. But it affects the finances of a lot of people up and down the country. That’s why we asked our Policy team to try and explain the changes in language that even the MoneyAware team would understand.

At a glance it looks like this…

Potentially positive for you:

  • Reversal of tax credit cuts
  • Pension payments will increase
  • Extension of the Warm Home Discount to 2020-21

Potentially negative for you:

  • Changes to Universal Credit (UC) announced in the Summer Budget will still go ahead from 2016-17

Other things to be aware of:

  • There are changes to benefits paid to the self-employed
  • There are some small changes to JSA ‘conditionality’

Let’s look at these in more detail…

Continue reading »


So what is an ombudsman?

posted by in Living with debt 1 Comment

It’s an odd word is ‘ombudsman’. We always thought it sounded a bit Scandinavian.

And now we’ve found out that it is, thanks to this cute new cartoon video from the Financial Ombudsman Service, featuring Vikings and longboats.

They’ve looked at the history of the word (the etymology of it, if you want to look smart) in an effort to highlight what they do and the range of money-related issues they can help mediate on, all for free.

We love the service – they’re amazingly helpful when you’ve got a financial complaint that you feel isn’t being resolved to your satisfaction.

So we say it’s well worth catching the video below.

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Which bills should I pay first?

posted by in Budgeting 3 Comments

Not sure what bills are a priority? Our handy infographic will help!

We’ve noticed a worrying trend of people coming to us for help with arrears on household bills. There has been a dramatic rise in people contact us for help with arrears on rent, council tax, gas, electric and water bills.

We often speak to people who’ve fallen behind on these sorts of bills but continue to pay off their credit card debt. If you’re struggling to pay your bills it’s important to know which ones are most important. Continue reading »


StepChange Debt Charity: We’re seen as stress relief!

posted by in Archive Leave a comment

mother and baby, (c) StepChange Debt Charity 2013

Get a bit of relief!

In 2013 we asked our clients to help us: could they suggest one word for how they felt before they came to us for help, and how they felt afterwards? The responses were overwhelming.

Over 4,200 people replied to our request, submitting hundreds of different words – luckily none of them abusive!

And unsurprisingly the clear winner in describing their situation before they contacted us was…

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StepChange Debt Charity: Why we’re making a change

posted by in Archive 97 Comments

Today’s our big day, when we officially change our name to StepChange Debt Charity, but why are we doing it?

Change can be unsettling and we didn’t take this decision lightly, but we’re sure that our new brand will quickly become the name people think of when they need help with problem debt.

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Debt, separation and divorce

posted by in Living with debt Leave a comment

Recently we’ve been looking at how separation and divorce can quickly lead to unmanageable debt. We’ve found that 25 Brits a day contact us with debt problems after separating from their partners.

Taking action early is the key.

  • Identify which debts you are liable for
  • Explain the sitation to your lenders
  • Seek free debt advice

If you’ve got debt problems from a divorce or separation contact us for help. And for more information, read our blogpost The stress when debt and relationships collide.